Free camp at the Tonebridge Rest Area, right beside the river
The Tonebridge Rest Area is just a short drive to the east of the Tonebridge township, a great place to free camp as a stop over or set up base and explore the many national parks, state parks and nature reserves in the surrounding area.
As far as roadside free campgrounds, this is one of the better ones that you’ll come across. The road it’s beside is relatively quiet and the Tone River wraps arounds two sides of the campground. There are a bunch of large trees that provide plenty of shade with a shelter, fire pit and water tank in the centre of the campground.
Although this place is usually treated as a stop over, it could be a destination of it’s own due to the beautiful scenery that includes an abundance of Eucalyptus trees and grass plants beside the calm river, plus the nearby places of interest.
Around half-a-dozen or so individual sites are spread throughout the rest area, almost all of which have river views. Access is easy and a 4wd isn’t required, most of the sites allow the option to drive through and are separated by scrub, giving a bit of privacy, although as it’s a pretty quiet place, there’s a good chance that you’ll have the whole campground to yourself in the off-peak season.
There’s a non-flushable toilet inside a small tin hut and although there’s a handy water tank beside the shelter, it’s non-potable, so you’ll need to bring along your own drinking supply.
Central to the campground, just near the shelter is a large open fire pit that’s right next to a concrete picnic table. Although that’s about it as far as facilities go, it’s much better than the majority of free campgrounds in the broad area and allows for a comfortable stay, making it a great place to call into when travelling a long distance, such as from Esperance to Margaret River, if y0u enjoy getting a large chunk of the drive out of the way to arrive at your final destination relatively early the next day.
Where abouts is Tonebridge
Tonebridge is the lower south-west corner of Western Australia, a couple of hours inland from the coast.
If you’re heading there from Esperance, it’s around a 6 hour drive, but then it’s less than one and a half hours from Pemberton, which is a great place to call into before heading to Margaret River. If you’re going straight to (or from) Margaret River, it’s a bit less than a 2.5 hour drive.
Tonebridge is surrounded by nature reserves and national parks. It’s on the northern edge of Unicup Nature Reserve and right next to Tone-perup Nature Reserve, a bit to the south-east of Greater Kingston National Park and Palgarup State Forest, then north of Lake Muir National Park and State Forest.
It wouldn’t be a bad move to stay here for several nights and explore the surrounding area!